Sir Mo Farah has said Donald Trump’s travel ban on refugees and citizens from seven mainly-Muslim countries was “unfair” and that he felt it was “important” to speak up.
The Somalia-born four-time Olympic champion said last month that the US president’s decree, which prevented those from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen entering the US for 90 days or more, was “deeply troubling”.
Sir Mo, who lives and trains in Portland, Oregon, was concerned the travel ban would force him to be separated from his wife and four children, but it was later clarified that the exclusion would not apply to the athlete.
A federal appeals court refused to reinstate the ban last week – meaning people and refugees from the seven nations can continue to enter the US for the time being – but Mr Trump has promised more legal action.
In his first interview since criticising the ban, Sir Mo told ITV News London that Mr Trump’s “unfair” decision had “affected” him.
He said: “Speaking to my kids and not being able to see my kids… that affected me, so it was important that I speak up and say what was right.
“I believe that was an unfair decision. Suddenly your country… When you’ve been there for six years and done everything right, overnight to tell you that you can’t come back to your kids, is unfair.”
The 33-year-old put out a statement last month which read: “On 1st January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm. On 27th January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.
“I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years – working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home.”
In the ITV News London interview, Sir Mo also spoke about how he had found it “weird” being called “Sir”, and said it was “something I never dreamed of”.
“I remember watching Match of the Day… seeing so many guys like Sir Alex Ferguson was one of them. And now myself. It’s just incredible, unbelievable.”